Lockdowns are a brutal but unfortunately common way of life at the moment due to the pandemic. Being stuck at home has forced you to look – really consider – all your stuff, maybe for the first time. And many of you will swiftly come to the realization that you don’t want or need a whole bunch of it.
You have finished your 11th online meeting for the day, perfected your banana bread recipe and read all the funny memes – so what do you do now?
You declutter of course!
But where do you start? You begin with accumulating some small decluttering wins. This will give you the momentum you need to continue on your minimalism journey.
Here are three quick decluttering victories in lockdown (or any time) …
1) Declutter Your Sock Drawer
Declutter one small space like your sock drawer, for example. Remove everything from the space. Give it a quick clean, wipe or shake out if you like. Then only place back what belongs there in a tidy fashion (like ONLY paired-up socks). Put everything else aside for now. We will deal with that later. Walk away from your sock drawer and then reexamine it. How does that feel?
This exercise has demonstrated how a little goes a long way. It also gave your decision-making muscles a bit of a workout and squashed any limiting beliefs that you can’t do this or it will be too hard.
A small win gives you a feeling of success and is likely to motivate you to continue. It may be hard to believe it now, but the more you declutter, the quicker and more ruthless you will become with your decision making.
Pro tip: Take ‘before’ photos and then compare them to ‘after’ photos for a burst of encouragement.
2) Put On a Timer
Some fortunate people may have a lengthy period to get stuck into a whole room, e.g.: the kitchen, or a whole category, e.g.: all their clothes. For the rest of us mere mortals, dividing decluttering into chunks of time is the only way to get it done.
Put on a timer for say 5 or 10 minutes and focus on one problem area like the entrance way, kitchen table or toy room. In the kitchen, for example, get rid of the visible mess, like the clutter on top of the kitchen counter top. I am not talking about the toaster, leave that for now. I am zeroing in on the school work, junk mail, keys, bags, toys and other things that find their way to the counters in your kitchen and then tend to stay there.
You will find most things can be placed in the trash or relocated to other parts of the house but what do you do with stuff you do not want any more? Lockdown can add a layer of complexity for anyone wanting to declutter as you cannot physically give away or sell items. Just because you cannot actually remove some items from your home doesn’t mean you should give up decluttering. Grab a bag, box or container and put all the items you do not want in it. Put it in a corner or cupboard and forget about it for now.
Pro tip: Put the box of giveaway or sell items in the back of your car. You won’t see them and they will be ready to be moved as soon as things open up again.
3) Do a Digital Declutter
Don’t forget a digital declutter. You don’t need to be in lockdown to do this and it has the added benefit that you don’t have to physically remove items from your house.
Computer, laptop or device: back up before you start. Go through your electronic folders deleting old documents, files and applications. Make sure you move or delete those files and apps cluttering up your desktop or front screen of your device. And remember to empty the trash too.
Emails: unsubscribe from emails you don’t need (especially those daily deal ones), delete emails that you have taken action on and put other emails in folders. There is no need to get to inbox zero but a good tidy up will help you focus only on what emails you actually need to action in the immediate future.
Pro tip: declutter your socials – unfollow social media pages, groups and people that you don’t want to see in your feed anymore.
Quick Decluttering Victories
Although lockdowns can be extremely difficult, they present a good opportunity to declutter. Not only are you stuck at home but it is likely that there is less coming in. Here in New Zealand, under Level 4 lockdown, no online shopping is permitted, (except for essentials) so you actually can’t ‘add to cart’. You can declutter what is in front of you without worrying about an influx of more.
And there is no excuse not to declutter when you can achieve quick decluttering victories like tidying your sock drawer, putting on a timer to clean problem areas and performing a digital declutter.
If this pandemic and the constant lockdowns have taught us nothing else, when everything else has been taken away, we must find joy in what we already have.
If you liked this blog post, you will LOVE my book, Clutter-Free Forever – check it out on all good online stores.
And feel free to check out my earlier trilogy of decluttering blog posts (ft. Brad Pitt):